The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, commonly known as the Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari Inc. as a higher end complementary console for the popular Atari 2600. The 5200 system was created to compete with the Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the ColecoVision shortly after its release. The console was based on Atari's existing 400/800 computer models and the internal hardware was almost identical, although software was not directly compatible between the two systems.
The 5200's controllers consist of an analog joystick and a numeric keypad along with start, pause and reset buttons. The 360-degree non-centering joystick was touted as offering more control than the eight-way joystick controller offered with the 2600. During the course of Atari's support of the Atari 5200, 9 revisions of the Atari 5200 controllers were made. The rubber base was made thicker, the joystick stalk was shortened and the "flex circuit" improved. The company was also working on a new self-centering joystick as well as an Arcade joystick, but the console was cancelled before these new controllers were completed and released.
The 1983 revision of the Atari 5200 has two controller ports instead of four, and a change back to the more conventional separate power supply and standard non-autoswitching RF switch. It also has changes in the cartridge port address lines to allow for the Atari 2600 adapter released that year. While the adapter was only made to work on the two-port version, modifications can be made to the four-port to make it line-compatible. In fact, towards the end of the four-port model's production run, there were a limited number of consoles produced which included these modifications. These consoles can be identified by an asterisk in their serial number.
A few popular games for the Atari 5200 include (including homebrew):
If there's one thing the Atari 5200 is famous for (other than its non-centering joysticks) it's for the large number of unreleased prototypes that have been found. Since the 5200's lifespan was cut tragically short by the crash of 1984, many games that were fully or nearly finished went unreleased. This makes for a large number of high quality prototypes, many of which are better than most released games. In fact of the 100 or so known 5200 titles, roughly a fourth of them are actually prototypes. No other system in history has such a high prototype to released game ratio.
Looking for the instructions?
Download here the Atari 5200 manual (PDF).
What's your Atari 5200 worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.
|Atari 5200 Video Game Console Black||12/2021||$275|
|Atari 5200 Console W Power Supply Games||12/2021||$300|
|Atari 5200 System Original Box Console||10/2021||$275|
|Atari 5200 Console W Power Supply Games||10/2021||$260|
|Atari 5200 Console W Power Supply Games||12/2021||$270|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||01/2022||-.--|